by Marge Simon
Hi, folks! Marge Simon here. I’m your current Chair of the Board of Trustees, and I have edited a column on Dark Poetry for the HWA NL since the late 90’s. My interest in HWA started when I began attending the World Horror Cons. I loved the folks I met and was thrilled with the panels, the guests of honor, and the displaying artists’ works. After about four eventful conventions, I decided to join. Soon enough, I volunteered to be Membership Chair and held that for about four years. My feelings about the good people in HWA haven’t changed, though the membership has fluctuated. I find most people open, engaging, and intelligent. There are many shining talents, many of whom have become valued friends.
Marge Simon is a name well-known to the readers, writers and artists within the realms of the independent press. Her writing has picked up one or two awards along the way; she’s the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the SFPA; and her artwork has appeared in more magazines and books than even God can count. Marge Simon is a busy lady. So when she saves some of her much-in-demand artwork to accompany the poems of her new book, it’s time to shut up shop, draw the curtains, and tell you a little of the strange pleasures of Unearthly Delights.
There’s magic and free-form music in the air in “Jazz Sunsets”, while in “A Private Eden 2350” art quite literally imitates life (or maybe that should be the other way around). “The Native Finds Her in the Wreckage” is a story of being found when it’s perhaps better to remain lost, and if you are chilled by the portents of doom in “The Holes Through Which the Scarabs Come,” then be careful when listening to the “Language of Scorpions”.
One piece that immediately catches the eye is “A Garden of Unearthly Delights”. Not only is this poem the first of the collection, but also a glimpse into something old, dark, and dangerous. A real sense of a musty house with rooms draped in cobwebs comes to mind as an inquisitive visitor is shown more than anyone should see by the flame-eyed, filthy-robed host. Filled with menace, curiosity and regret, this one is a good and creepy opener:
I knew I’d find you here,
the residential haunt
of a dreary farmhouse
on the outskirts of Antwerp.
It had to be none other
for a Medieval artesian,
Maestro of the Grotesque.
The sound of my footsteps
turns into hideous laughter
that whispers through the house
and will not die.
Eyes alight with green flames,
you appear in a filthy robe
to invite me to another world
where owls nest in the grass,
moons howl and trees have eyes.
You give it raucous music,
beacons lit by weeping violins
and flames to punctuate the sky.
Indeed, you’ve landscaped Hell,
outdone the most esthetic demon
at the Dark Angel’s command.
I’ve seen enough, I try to turn away,
but by some monstrous force, you intervene.
As my torch expires, I join your visions,
imprisoned in a baroque frame.
“Once again, Simon proves that artwork is a powerful tool when expanding the imagery of poems. Whether they depict a portrait, a scene, or some secret act, they always further the storytelling in a subtle and non-intrusive way. Having read the collection as a whole, it’s difficult to say whether the words and pictures could live and breathe as individual entities. Hindsight won’t let me separate them. So I can only conclude that Unearthly Pleasure is exactly as it should be: a sum of parts forming a complete work from a very busy lady.” – Edward Cox
Marge Simon freelances as a writer poet illustrator for genre and mainstream publications such as Strange Horizons, Niteblade, DailySF Magazine, Pedestal, and Dreams & Nightmares. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side.” She is the editor of Star*Line, Digest of the SF Poetry Association and won the Strange Horizons Best Poem award, 2011. In addition to her poetry, she has published two prose collections: Christina’s World, Sam’s Dot Publications, 2008 and Like Birds in the Rain, Sam’s Dot, 2007. She won the Bram Stoker for Best Poetry Collection with Charlie Jacob, Vectors: A Week in the Death of a Planet, Dark Regions Press, 2008. New collections coming in 2011: Unearthly Delights (self illustrated in color), Sam’s Dot Publications, The Mad Hattery (art by Sandy DeLuca), Electrikmilkbath Press. Visit her website.
Poet G.O. Clark is giving away one signed paperback edition of Shroud of Night. Enter now by posting in the comments section below or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be chosen at random. Contestants may enter once to be considered for all giveaways, but multiple entries are permitted.